Talk:Middle Ages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article Middle Ages is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on September 12, 2013.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 19, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
April 17, 2013 Peer review Reviewed
May 26, 2013 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

the middle ages[edit]

The middle ages is the time of ancient history, — Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.43.98.199 (talk) 17:22, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Christian propaganda[edit]

At the end it uses a single source to say (paraphrased) 'anti-scientific views of the church are false and no one agrees with it'. That is using selective Christian sources to say this. Anyone from another background could say otherwise, making the point entirely moot. Stop promoting Christianity instead of actual history. The quote is simply not true, plenty of historians can be found to agree that the church is anti-scientific, from then until this very day (ie, denying evolution). If you want to say 'some' historians disagree, then fine, but also write a section about the ones that agree for neutrality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 142.162.215.204 (talk) 07:01, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

It could certainly use a better source, but I'm not sure how you could argue that the church was anti-science in the Middle Ages. Maybe in the Renaissance and afterwards... Adam Bishop (talk) 11:02, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
I wasn't aware that the "church" as a monolithic body opposed evolution in the current day either. Some Protestant denominations do, but most mainline Protestant denominations as well as the Roman Catholic Church don't - Catholic Church and evolution is instructive here. As for the Middle Ages, there are plenty of works that address the attitude of the Church during it. A good work for all sorts of "common beliefs" about the Middle Ages is Misconceptions About the Middle Ages edited by Stephen J. Harris and Bryon L. Grigsby in 2008. They have several chapters devoted to misconceptions about science in the Middle Ages. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:16, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Johnbod (talk) 14:05, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

Middle Ages[edit]

I see that all my edits on the Middle Ages on the 8th April were undone by User:Hchc2009. Argumentation: "not an improvement to the lede, which is supposed to summarise; other changes seem to run counter to the cited sources; probably worth discussing on the talk page first". I think he was too hasty and made a mistake, but this things happen on wikipedia, were reviewers have not much time to make a decision. My edits were triggered by a number of too me obvious omissions and errors I encountered when reading this article. All in all I have counted I have made nearly 20 changes click here to see all my changes. To keep this paragraph readable and to see if we can come to a constructive dialog I will for the moment only mention four sentences I changed:

"The emperors of the 5th century were often controlled by military strongmen such as Stilicho (d. 408), Aspar (d. 471), Ricimer (d. 472), or Gundobad (d. 516), who were partly or fully of non-Roman background."
I changed this to
"The emperors of the 5th century were often controlled by military strongmen such as Stilicho (d. 408), Aetius (d. 454), Aspar (d. 471), Ricimer (d. 472), or Gundobad (d. 516), who were partly or fully of non-Roman background."
My comment: My first change in this article. Its clear to me that Aetius is one of best examples of this military strongmen, so adding him seemed an improvement..
"In 376, the Ostrogoths, fleeing from the Huns, received permission from Emperor Valens (r. 364–378) to settle in the Roman province of Thracia in the Balkans.".
The use of Ostrogoths is wrong. I changed this is
"In 376, Arian members of the Thervingi, a Gothic tribe, fleeing from the Huns, received permission from Emperor Valens (r. 364–378) to settle in the Roman province of Thracia in the Balkans."
My comment: Read Heather, Wickham and other wikipedia articles. In 376 the names used were Thervingi and Greuthungi. If one insists on using the terms Visigoths and Ostrogoths it should be Visigoths since the Thervingi mostly ended up in the polity of the Visigoths.
"The Franks, Alemanni, and the Burgundians all ended up in northern Gaul while the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes settled in Britain."
I changed this to
"The Franks ended up in Germania Inferior and Gallia Belgica, the Alemanni in Germania Superior and Raetia, and the Burgundians in the eastern part of Gallia Lugdunensis, while the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes settled in southern and eastern Britain
My comment: The Alemanni and the Burgundians didn't end up in the northern part of the former Gaul, far from it. Further one should not use the term "Gaul" in this article. Gaul was the area of land conquered by Julius Ceasar. After 500 years of Roman rule Gaul didn't exist any more. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes settled in southern and eastern Brittain.
"In northern Gaul, the Franks and Britons set up small polities. The Frankish Kingdom was centred in north-eastern Gaul, and the first king of whom much is known is Childeric (d. 481)."
I changed this to
"In the northern part of the former province of Gallia Belgica the Franks first set up a number of smaller polities, The first king of the Frankish Kingdom of whom much is known is Childeric (d. 481).
My comment: That Britons settled in northern Gaul is clear nonsense, later in the article it is correctly stated that they settled in the area now known as Brittany. The Salic Frankish Kingdom was centered on the northern part of Gallia Belgica (not Gaul), not the northeastern part

Best regards JRB-Europe (talk) 17:49, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

I personally know very little about this period, as I would assume many are who have edited this page. I think every editor here would be more agreeable towards your changes if you had reliable sources to back up a few of your claims, such as "the use of Ostrogoths is wrong." This may be common knowledge to most, but I've got absolutely no idea, and as this article received FA status as is, many editors are less lenient at allowing changes without verification from reliable sources. SamWilson989 (talk) 18:13, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

I don't see any issue with your additions other than perhaps the fact that parts of both branches of the Goths were at Adrianople (IFAIK) and the your assertion that the High Middle Ages began before 1000, which would seem to contradict the High Middle Ages article itself. You don't need to add refs for all your additions, because most are common sense: the Aetius addition is acceptable, your clarification of the actual locations of the barbarians in Gaul, the addition about the Vandals. Those are all fine.--Tataryn (talk) 18:41, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Hello Tataryn, thank you for comments and support. You are right about the starting year of the High Middle Ages. I see that most of the main wikipedia's have it start around the year 1000. Sources I used in the past let it start around 970. I will drop this change. I agree that subtribes of both the Thervingi and Greuthungi were both present at the battle of Adrianople, but that is also what I have stated in my changes. JRB-Europe (talk) 21:05, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
You need sources for these changes. For example - Brittany is in northern France - is it not? We do not need to get into the minutiae of the exact previous provinces ... we are a wide overview article. As for not using Gaul - you need to tell that to Collins, Edward James, and Wickham - all of whom use "Gaul". None of your changes were accompanied by any sources - and you can't change already sourced information without new sources. We aren't writing a detailed history here - we aim for an overview and that does mean some simplification and using terms that the reader is more likely to be familiar with if possible. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:52, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Hello Ealdgyth, I have great respect for your work on wikipedia, but no, Brittany is not in northern France. If you don't believe me, please take a look at a map. You further have a point that this an overview article, but I think you would agree that this doesn't mean that we should give the reader incorrect information. JRB-Europe (talk) 21:01, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Is not Brittany is the northern half of France? Keep in mind we're writing for a general audience - they are going to consider anything in the northern half of France to be close enough. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:09, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
No it's not, Brittany is the most western part of France. From an American perspective it probably doesn't matter so much, but for a northwest European it is really quiet ridiculous to state that Brittany is in northern France. JRB-Europe (talk) 21:20, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
And that's the point - the worldwide perspective (rather than a northwest European perspective) would be fine with "northern Gaul". However, in the interests of compromise - I've changed it to "Elsewhere in Gaul, the Franks and Britons set up small polities." as an intro sentence which then leads on to the more specific locations given in the following sentences. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:30, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Also in the interests of compromise I have made a further change in one of the followup sentences, were the centre of the Salic Frankish kingdom is mentioned. I changed only one word: northeastern Gaul became northern Gaul. JRB-Europe (talk) 21:55, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I see a compromise has been reached, and I don't disagree with the outcome, but it seems clear to me that Brittany is in northern France. I've just had a quick search to find some uses of this in the media and by different scholars. The BBC, here, describes Brittany as in northern France, and in academia Brittany is described as such in a range of topics from botany to medicine, geology to economic history. Yes, it could be argued north-western France would be a better description of Brittany's location, but I think saying its "really quite ridiculous to state that Brittany is in northern France" is unfair. SamWilson989 (talk) 21:37, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Sam, I fear that you are wrong. Please consult a map of France, for instance this one. (see map). Also note how the locals call their main regional newspaper (see here) JRB-Europe (talk) 22:06, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm well aware of where Brittany is on a map, and I would say north-western would be the best description, but what we think is not important, but what is true, and what we can verify. I've given five reliable sources. I understand the locals may call it western France, but as the rest of the world describes is as both western and northern, can we agree on north-western, or better yet, not use the phrase at all by changing the entire sentence and just saying Brittany if needs be? SamWilson989 (talk) 22:13, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Sam, the problem is that in this case (but the same applies to many other situations) for every source that you can provide that says Brittany is in northwestern or northern France, I can give you another source that states that Brittany is in western France. Sources are not always conclusive, in fact in many cases they are not. It seems hard for many people to accept that sources can be inconclusive or as in this case (to my amazement) be even nearly contradictory. Back to this particular case of Brittany; if I may speculate a little bit over the differences in opionion we have. Maybe there is indeed a cultural difference between the manner in which the English speaking world give names likes north, west, east and south, this in comparison which Dutch, German and French speakers. If I remember correctly I never had similar discussions as this one over Dutch, German and French texts, but I had this discussions before In England with English people. I find it for instance rather strange that people in London call everything 50 miles to the north of their city the "North" or the "North of England". This is of course for a large part because London is by far the largest city in England, but maybe there is more to it. Best regards JRB-Europe (talk) 23:48, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Completely understand where you're coming from. I'm all for using a different phrase or different wording here, and in cases where reliable sources contradict each other on something like this. I'm from the North - I currently live in Manchester - and it's an odd example because you're right, I've heard people use the description for places that I think are pretty far south, but also I know people from Cumbria who think I'm basically no different to Birmingham. Language is odd, so I think there are probably better ways to solve this issue, I just wanted to show you why editors here weren't "ridiculous" to describe Brittany as northern France when our media and literature does it so often. Thanks for bringing a different POV. SamWilson989 (talk) 23:59, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
As per my edit summary, JRB, you need to provide sources; as far as I'm aware, all the material in the article as it stands is backed by reliable sources. Any proposed changes also need suitable sources. I'd also emphasise that the article needs to be accessible to a broad audience - excessive detail, particularly if its not essential to the narrative, can easily prevent that. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:56, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Agreed that we need sources. On the one point above that I feel qualified to comment on, I'm not sure about "settled in southern and eastern Britain". The Angles (&c.) initially settled on the southern and eastern shores of what is now England, but were in the Severn Valley by the 6th century. The timing of the Migration Period (which is the context of the sentence) isn't confined to the 5th century, but runs for the next couple of centuries, by which time almost all of England had been settled by the newcomers. To make this accurate in this context isn't easy; I think it's better to avoid giving specifics which require qualification. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 19:00, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
The works of Bauer nor Collins state that the Ostrogoths were the sole group at Adrianople. Bauer merely says the "Goths". So it appears somebody has misused the sources.--Tataryn (talk) 19:03, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Or somewhere along the line in the various edits by all sorts of people ... someone came along and inserted their own opinion that it was the Ostrogoths and someone didn't catch the change ... it's not very helpful to accuse others of misusing sources. It's also possible I had a brain fart along the way and typed "ostro" when I meant just Goths. It's really not worth a lot of bother - it's been corrected. Ealdgyth - Talk 19:43, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
"Not worth a lot of bother"? It was indeed you Ealdgyth, who on March 17, 2012 changed [1] the content from "Goths" to "Ostrogoths", yet did not change the reference. This error remained unchanged for over four years, and constitutes a misuse of a source. While you have indeed greatly improved this article, that does not negate the fact that this is a misuse of a source. Considering this Ostrogoth error is the first one I looked into, I wouldn't be surprised if this article has several more errors that have gone uncorrected for years.--Tataryn (talk) 19:52, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Okay, sorry for the error. It happens to all of us. Can we please not be confrontational - it's not helpful to collaborative editing. Nor is jumping all over someone for an error. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:01, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm just stating the facts. A user made edits that corrected your error and made useful additions to the article, yet you and other users "jumped" on him. His edits were immediately reverted, with you all saying he's not using the sources. Yet it appears you and perhaps others are likely prone to misusing sources or simply don't have a command of this material to properly verify your additions. Perhaps you all should welcome this user and assist him in finding sources, rather than "jumping" on him.--Tataryn (talk) 20:14, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I don't think that's fair. For someone to say they're "stating the facts", I find it odd for them to then speculate and accuse editors here of being prone to misusing the sources, or not having an ability to verify. Hchc was simply following the WP:BRD process, and when it was brought to discussion, I gave the editor the advice of providing some sources, which other editors then agreed with. There was no revert without explanation, and there was no denial of assistance. Personally, I saw an editor that seemed to know what he was saying, so I assumed he would also have sources available. I understand editors on Wikipedia can be prone to 'biting' newcomers, but I think that's an unfair assessment of what's happened here. SamWilson989 (talk) 20:23, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia rules state: "Revert an edit if it is not an improvement, and it cannot be immediately fixed by refinement." It also states: "Wikipedia's Verifiability policy requires inline citations for any material challenged or likely to be challenged..." The user's additions were certainly an improvement, as they were correcting several errors. Any issues could have been fixed by refinement. Much of his additions were not material that is challenged nor likely to be challenged, either. To say that the Vandals crossed the straight of Gibralter and took north Africa need not be cited because it is a well-known fact and is not even remotely challenged by any academics. The reverting user merely did a wholesale rollback on all his edits instead of addressing them one-by-one. It's possible he didn't even examine the edits themselves. Frankly, that is pure laziness, an abuse of the rollback function (if it was indeed technically a rollback), and is not conducive to improving Wikipedia.--Tataryn (talk) 20:41, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I've restored more of the information - including the bits about the Vandals. And saying that something "is not even remotely challenged by any academics" does not mean that it doesn't need citing. The standard isn't "well known to academics studying the subject" but whether any Randy would challenge it - which in effect means pretty much everything needs a citation beyond the "sky is blue" or "water is wet" stage of facts, unfortunately. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:49, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
On another note: "It's possible he didn't even examine the edits themselves." I really don't understand editors who understand the importance of verification on article pages but feel completely willing to speculate entirely on talk pages. It's a bit bonkers. I'm all for citing Wikipedia policy, but then you've got to remember to assume good faith, which I don't see happening, and therefore I think this why this has led to some disagreement. SamWilson989 (talk) 20:56, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Including "occasionally" next to the "mediaeval" spelling[edit]

I see Ealdgyth reverted the removal of "occasionally" next to the "mediaeval" spelling, and included a comment in the edit summary that it is not in use in modern secondary sources. I don't feel strongly about whether "occasionally" should be included, but I think for usage of a word like this, which is in broad use outside academe, we should be paying at least as much attention to sources that document lay usage, such as dictionaries. I don't know how widespread the usage really is in the UK, and I think it's at least possible that "mediaeval" is substantially less common than "medieval" in the UK, in which case "occasionally" would be justified. I think we should discuss the sources here rather than edit war over it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:03, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

We just put up a huge list on the talk page of Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Middle Ages - I'll point out that none of the American dictionaries I consulted even gave "medieaval" as an alternate spelling. If one of the two main English speaking countries doesn't use the spelling or list it, it's an occasional spelling. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:09, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I commented on the WikiProject discussion, which I'd argue came to a clear consensus. Hchc2009 (talk) 19:37, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm not arguing that it should be changed, just that the usage in academic sources (which is what the Wikiproject discussion referred to) doesn't seem to me to be the right standard to use for the discussion. I think academic usage does settle it for article titles, and for our own usage -- I don't think anything in Wikipedia's voice should use "mediaeval". But in this case we're explicitly talking about general usage, not about academic usage. An ngram doesn't seem to me to show a dramatic shift. The ngram isn't a reliable source for this, of course. I think if someone were to show that current British dictionaries include "mediaeval" as an alternative spelling, with no comment such as "uncommon", or "obsolete", then we should do the same, though of course it should be noted that this is for BrEng (and the same would go for Canadian, Australian, and so on). Anyway, I don't have the sources to do the research; I'm just commenting about the difference between defining our own usage, and the usage in the general population. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 19:58, 20 July 2016 (UTC)